A botnet is outfitting its army of compromised computers with a SQL injection attack tool to hack Web sites, researchers at SecureWorks have discovered.
According to SecureWorks, the Asprox botnet, once used solely to send out phishing e-mails, is pushing the tool out to systems in its network via a binary with the file name msscntr32.exe. The executable is installed as a system service with the name "Microsoft Security Center Extension."
According to a list from VirusTotal, only a handful of the major anti-virus vendors are detecting the attack tool at this time.
"This is the first time I've seen a SQL injection tool, but certainly other botnets have tried to spread in a similar manner, infecting Web sites with IFrames," said Joe Stewart, director of malware research at SecureWorks. "For instance, Storm tries to get your password if you log in to a Web site with FTP, and will put an IFrame into the page for you."
So far, SecureWorks has found 1,000 Web sites infected by this wave of SQL attacks. Visitors to these infected Web sites are infected with the Asprox malware-turning them into bots-and also download some scareware.
"We've estimated [the Asprox botnet] at around 15,000 hosts, but that was before the wave of SQL attacks," Stewart said in an interview with eWEEK.
Researchers are still investigating exactly what vulnerability on the Web sites is being exploited, Stewart said. The Web sites are English-language and their owners include law firms and midsize businesses.
A similar attack technique is currently being seen spreading game-password-stealing Trojans from China. Whether the tool is related or only the attack syntax is shared, it is clear that SQL injection attack activity is on the rise from multiple sources, Stewart wrote in his blog.